Category Archives: Traces

Anna Campbell, Saddledrag (2006-)

Specific to the 2008 iteration: “As part of her ongoing performance series Saddledrag, artist Anna Campbell dressed in self-proclaimed “cowboy drag” and pulled a cast-plaster saddle behind her. In her own words, this cowboy without a horse “hopes to critique both the construct of the American cowboys, as well as nostalgia for a romantic past that never existed.” The saddle was fully eroded by the end of the trek, leaving a two-mile double line that encircled the full parade route.”

— Credit: Uchill, Rebecca, editor. On Procession, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2009. Page 99.

The parade, overseen by Fritz Haeg and titled East Meets West Interchange Overpass Parade, was sponsored by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and was held on April 26, 2008.

Richard Long, A Walk of Four Hours and Four Circles (1972)

Medium: Presstype on cut-and-pasted paper on printed map with pencil
Dimensions: 9 1/2 × 12 5/8″ (24.1 × 32.1 cm)

Consists of a map with said concentric circles indicated, along with the title. Writer Rebecca Solnit observes, “On the maps the route of the walk is drawn in to suggest that the walking is drawing on a grand scale, that his walking is to the land itself as his pen is to the map, and he often walks straight lines, circles, squares, spirals.” – Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Penguin Books, 2000. Page 270.

Dennis Oppenheim, Ground Mutations – Shoe Prints (1969)

Ground Mutations – Shoe Prints, November 1969, printed 2013

Black-and-white and color photographs and text on two panels

“Shoes with 1/4” diagonal grooves down the soles and heels were worn for three winter months. I was connecting the patterns of thousands of individuals… my thoughts were filled with marching diagrams.”

Fran Crow, WALKING TO SAVE SOME SEA – MY 46000 CHALLENGE (2006-7)

“I have always loved walking by the sea and was increasingly disturbed by the amount of plastic I was finding washed up on the beach. But in 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme reported that humankind’s exploitation of the oceans was ‘rapidly passing the point of no return’ and I was really shocked to discover that they estimated that on average there were around 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square mile of ocean, leading to the death of over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year due to entanglement with or swallowing of litter.

We now know that over 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, travelling on ocean currents to every part of the globe. These plastics endure in the marine environment indefinitely: items from the birth of plastics are washing up on our shores, virtually unscathed. Scientists estimate that plastic can take 1000 years or more to degrade in seawater and even then will continue to pollute our environment with thousands of microscopic fibres: samples taken from a Northumbrian beach were found to have over 10,000 fibres in just one litre of sand… But disposal of plastics in our oceans isn’t just harming wildlife now. We are also providing a toxic legacy that may last an eternity. Moreover, plastics can be found throughout the food chain, even ending up in the food on our plates.

plastics, like diamonds, are forever…

The Challenge
I
was so shocked by what I had learned, I felt I had to do something and resolved to ‘save’ one square mile of ocean by collecting 46000 pieces of litter whilst walking on the beaches near my home. Every time I visited the beach I picked up all the litter I could carry. My challenge took exactly a year to achieve (September 2006 – September 2007) and in total I walked over 200kms and carried away nearly a third of a tonne of rubbish.

But sadly my challenge will never really be complete. Scientists estimate that the amount of plastic in the sea is increasing at a rapid rate, doubling every 2 or 3 years. I’m still collecting (I can’t stop!). But this could be a lifetime’s work and I still might not save a single square mile of sea…
My efforts may only be a literal splash in the ocean compared to the immensity of the problems are seas are facing. But what if everyone tried to do something about it? Luckily there is a lot more we can do – have a look here at the things we can all do…

Whilst walking, I took photographs and created a book of what I saw, contrasting the seemingly unspoilt beauty of the landscape with the man-made debris which inhabits it.
See my photographs in sequence from the beginning of my challenge.
To see specific locations, click the following links:
AldeburghBawdsey – Covehythe  –  DunwichFelixstoweOrford Ness – Shingle Street – Sizewell – Southwold  – Thorpeness – Walberswick

Collecting
I have saved and photographed nearly everything from my walks.
See some of my collections.

Exhibitions
The plastics I have collected have become my materials: I create huge installations with what I have found, ‘recycling’ it as art with potent message, playful but deadly serious.
See photographs from some of my exhibitions
.

[credit]

Reg Carremans, Pathscape (2012)

Reg Carremans (1981-) is a Brussels-based visual artist mapping the self and the environment through different media, to encourage critical introspection, (self-)awareness and reflective thought. Interested in humans as geographical beings (walking, landscape, environment, place, territory, cartography), and the artist and artistic processes (identity, basic actions, economy).

“Pathscape is a canvas walk for Sideways, a month-long itinerant initiative for contemporary art and culture. August – September 2012 | Belgium | Walks, canvas patchwork” [credit]

“Reg Carremans is a landscape painter who makes his work through walking or rubbing against the environment in which he is in. He was the only Belgian artist to complete the 375km Sideways 2012 Walking and Art Festival route, using canvas on the soles of specially adapted walking boots to gather multiple impressions for a series of ‘landscape paintings’ displayed en route.” [credit]

Manu J. Brueggemann, Vanessa Thomas, Ding Wang, Lickable Cities (2014-2017)

person licking statue

“Lickable Cities is a research project that responds to the recent and overwhelming abundance of non-calls for gustatory exploration of urban spaces. In this pa- per, we share experiences from nearly three years of nonrepresentational, absurdist, and impractical re- search. During that time, we licked hundreds of surfac- es, infrastructures, and interfaces in cities around the world. We encountered many challenges from thinking with, designing for, and interfacing through taste, in- cluding: – how can and should we grapple with contam- ination?, and – how might lickable interfaces influence more-than-humans? We discuss these challenges to compassionately question the existing framework for designing with taste in [Human-Computer Interaction].” [credit]

 

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, D’Fence Cuts (2001)

“Heath Bunting emerged from the 1980s art scene committed to building open, democratic communications systems and social contexts. Throughout his career, he has explored multiple media including graffiti and performance art and has staged numerous interventionist projects, as well as being a pioneer in the field of Internet Art. Bunting began collaborating with artist Kyle Brandon in 2001.” [credit]

These artists devised a circular tour (see map), and by night stealthily cut some fences as part of their Borderxing project. BorderXing serves as a pratical guide to crossing major international borders, legally or illegally. It was a type of physical hacking of space, cutting anything that impeded their walk – D’Fence Cuts. Below is an excerpt from their tour de fence catalog:

“tour de fence is the answer to your real needs. while the internet promised to level out all barriers, tour de fence enables you to surmount the fences out there that people erect to obstruct your way every day. from wire netting to ru­ stic fence, from steel door to close security system, tour de fence offers you the necessary know-how for unhampered movement. tour de fence is the direct way.

learn offroad mobility within high security architecture. cross over stretches of land in the right direction. penetrate the underground area of your city. tour de fence puts an end to the relocation of your movements into virtual space. use the tour de fence! become a tour de fence amateur team. pass this handbook on to others. propagate tour de fence.

by doing so you will become part of the international tour de fence community. as a reader, a free-climber or by sending one of the 24 tour de fence postcard in this book.

participate now! tour de fence’s vision is to do what we want.

tour de fence acknowledges fence as metaphor for private property. fence as a supposedly temporary, often mobile barrier performing functions of inclusion and exclusion, entrapment and guided freedom, decoration, safety, user boun­ dary, protection from hazard, flow control, visual screening and user separation.

fence is a permeable filter system defining permitted use and users. light, wind, insects, water, plants and sound pass unhindered while high order life forms such as·humans, fish, cattle and cars are engaged:

development of fence.

up to now the vertical has generally been private while the horizontal public. increasingly, vertical fences are being rotated to the horizontal and enlarged over large areas of land, as all use and users are embraced in total control.

tour de fence recognises the transformation of framed freedom into restricted open-range roaming; the re-alignment of unknown possibilities into known re­ peatables. users are permitted to skate across flattened surface of fence, but not to pass through – the fence is everywhere.” (credit)

Michèle Magema, Across the Souvenirs (2010)

This work has multiple sections: déambulation, where the artist silently walks across the screen carrying two bags wearing a white dress; Expansion, where the artist walks up stairs and across the screen – the image is doubled and reflected with reduced opacity and there is piano music playing; Transcription, where the artist walks across the screen in a white dress with a piece of chalk drawing a hip-height line across a black wall, then erases the lines with water – again the image is doubled during the drawing, but not the erasing, and music is present for the erasure.

“My work exists within an intermediary zone, a sort of matter space of a frontier I have produced and that I situate within the countries of France and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am a cultural hybrid endowed with a composite identity. The plurality of my parents provide me with the authorization to interrogate my own history and that of a nation, the place of my birth, as well as the continent of Africa at large. The relationship that I maintain with my own personal history or histories and to history as a larger entity permits me to formulate a critical acquisition to write the concept of exitism. Exitism is a representation that is largely shared with history and even with practices at times. As the material of my work is always simple. I use historical facts that I interpret through the prediction of scene. Through these frontal images I expose my body that I use as a metaphor for the relationship between the human being and the world at large. My work sets up a direct relationship that centered on the world the field of society and politics. – Excerpts from Global Feminisms: Michèle Magema 2010″ [credit]

Walk & Squawk, The Walking Project (2003-2006)

photos of a performance project

Walk and Squawk, The Walking Project (2003-2006)

“The Drawing Project began in Detroit in 1999 and became an interdisciplinary performance, mapping and cultural-exchange project collaboratively developed by Walk & Squawk (Hilary Ramsden and Erika Block), with U.S. and South Africa-based artists and communities during a series of residencies in Detroit and KwaZulu-Natal from 2003 through 2006. Inspired by desire lines people made across vacant lots in Detroit and across fields in South Africa we explored the paths we walk and how they are formed through culture, geography, language, economics and love. We looked at how changing our patterns of movement can alter our attitudes and perception, how taking a different path can alter our lives. We discovered how learning language alters the actual paths in our brains and how taking a car means something very different from taking a walk.” [credit]

Stuart McAdam, Lines Lost (2013-14)

“A project tracing the routes of branch lines that were cut following the Beeching Report in 1963

Stuart McAdam came to Huntly in Summer 2013 from Glasgow.

Stuart’s Lines Lost project was triggered by the infamous railway cuts which saw train tracks closed as a result of Dr Richard Beeching’s recommendations 50 years ago. Through a series of performative walks with all kinds of people along the former Portsoy to Huntly route, McAdam’s aim was to bring into focus the historic and contemporary concerns surrounding our transport legacy.

Through walking the former track again and again, people have seen him reawaken the route that has been subsumed into the landscape – like remains of ghostly traces of the line that once linked communities. Linking natural with industrial and social history of the past 50 years he interrogated the historical, cultural and contemporary resonances through a series of documented walks.

The North of Scotland was one of the areas most affected by the Beeching cuts with local stopping train routes such as Aberdeen – Inverurie, Aberdeen – Keith – Elgin, Huntly to Banff and Portsoy, Banff – Tillynaught, Fraserburgh – St Combs, Elgin – Lossiemouth, Aberdeen – Ballater and Fraserburgh, Maud – Peterhead and Aviemore – Elgin via Inverness, cut. Many of those that crossed the county have never been replaced by other forms of public transport making journeys difficult and adding hours to travel time for those not having access to private cars – passengers have to travel south to Aberdeen or north to Elgin to get connections often having long waits between buses.  McAdam repeatedly walked the route from Huntly to Portsoy, experiencing it through different eyes every time.

“Physical and transparent remnants of most of the lines still exist within the landscape and I hope to reawaken them in the public consciousness”, said McAdam, who has explored journeys, boundaries and slow travel in a range of artworks.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Beeching report is also fitting time to consider the impact that the cuts had on the relative development and decline of the many towns and villages that lay along the historic routes, routes that were often life lines for outlying communities.”

McAdam was at the Edinburgh Art Festival the 1st of August. For more information go to the event page.

Stuart also participated in the Room to Roam Festival” [credit]